Monday, January 21, 2008

The death of four little girls

(MacKenszee Roberts was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2005-2006 school year.)

“Well, each one of them had their own distinct personalities, but they were all wonderful children, happy, potential for such great things, and those were just really good times for us.”, this comes from Carolyn McKinstry, a childhood friend of the four African American girls that died in the Birmingham Church Bombing of ’63. While participating in an interview relating to the bombing, Lisa McNair, one of the victims’ sisters, explained how, because of the bomb, didn’t ever have a chance to meet her sister, Denise McNair.
It all happened on Sunday, September 15, 1963, a day like any other in Birmingham, Alabama. As children were attending Sunday school in the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church a bomb went off shortly after 10 a.m. The most remembered victims of the blast were Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, all the age of 14, except Denise who was 11 at the time. The reasons why these victims are remembered well are because all four lost their lives that terrible day. As well as the four girls, twenty-three other people were hurt by the bomb and the shards of glass coming from the decimated windows of the church. *A few days before the bombing, courts ordered desegregation within Birmingham’s schools. So a few people thought that was why the church was bombed.
Before the bombing occurred, the church was used as a meeting place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy, and Fred Shutterworth. The people of the city were losing patience as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) were starting to work on getting the right for African Americans to vote in Birmingham. Could this be enough reason for bombing a church?
Witnesses to the crime say they saw a man placing a box beneath the church’s front steps just minutes before the blast actually took place. One witness described a man named Robert Chambliss as the man who placed the box beneath the steps. Chambliss received a six-month jail sentence and a one hundred dollar fine for having the dynamite, hardly enough to pay for a priceless life. Not until 1977 was Chambliss actually found guilty and charged with the murder of Denise McNair, only one of the girls, but better than nothing. He lived the rest of his life in prison until the 29th of October in ’85. He didn’t even spend 10 years of his sentence locked up in prison!
On the 17th of May in 2000 the FBI released the information that the splinter group of the Ku Klux Klan called the Cahaba Boys were behind the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Others involved in the bombing were Thomas E. Blanton, Bobby Frank Cherry, and Herman Cash. Both Blanton and Cherry were convicted and arrested, but Cash had died just before trial. During Cherry’s trial, some of the victims’ relatives listened while Cherry’s own family gave evidence in the girls favor. Cherry’s granddaughter had said that Cherry would boast and say, “Helped blow up a bunch of niggers back in Birmingham.” He also had bragged about punching Fred Shutterworth with knuckle dusters and said, “bopped ol’ Shutterworth in the head.” It also helped the case because Cherry was a demolitions expert while he was in the Marines.
The case was finally brought to an end when Cherry was convicted. It was said the reason he helped bomb the church was to turn back the civil rights movement. Also because the church was a meeting place for the civil rights leaders as I have stated earlier. The jury for Cherry consisted of nine whites and 3 blacks, all of whom considered Cherry guilty after the family’s evidence and the evidence that was recovered over 10 years after the bombing. Thomas Blanton was convicted just before Cherry.
Robert Chambliss, the first convicted, was said to be the ringleader of the men while performing this horrible sin. Many people testified against Chambliss during his trial, of these, four were most helpful to the case. First, Mrs. Yvonne Young, she had said she visited the Chambliss home around two weeks before the bombing and had seen some weird things in the house. She said she had asked to use the restroom and went to the door and instead of a bathroom she said she saw what looked to be, “three or four bundles that looked like oversized firecrackers bound together by masking tape.” She also said Chambliss became very angry when she saw the inside of the strange room.
Secondly, Mrs. Cobbs’ testimony helped a lot too. She had been at Chambliss’ home just a week before the bombing occurred. She said that they had been talking about an incident where a white woman was cut with a knife by a black youth, when Chambliss got very angry and started on about how everything would be settled if he had his way. On another testimony, Mrs. Cobbs said she had gone to the Chambliss home and when the bombing was on the television set, Chambliss had said, “It went off at the wrong time. No one was supposed to get hurt.”
After those two testimonies, Cantrell testified that Chambliss had been talking about how he knew how to make fuses for bombs. Also, William Jackson testified against both Chambliss and Blanton about being in charge of the Cahaba Boys and being only a few blocks away from the church half a day before the bombing.
After forty years, the four men, Thomas Blanton, Herman Cash, Bobby Cherry, and Robert Chambliss were brought to justice. Most of the documents about the crime weren’t even found until twenty years after the bombing. The Birmingham Church Bombing was one of the worst crimes done in all the years of the Civil Rights Movement. They may have stopped Birmingham from being a meeting place for leaders, but they were never close to stopping the Civil Rights leading up to today’s equality among men, women, and children alike.

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King

(Tilly Ingram was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2005-2006 school year.)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great civil rights leader. He became a spokesman for nonviolent protest after he managed the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.( Dr.King was also the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner. He held on strong to his beliefs, even when he saw the Civil Rights movement being torn in two."Violence is what brought King back to Memphis in April, 1968."(

"On April 3, 1968, Dr. King arrived in Memphis a little later than planned because there had been a bomb threat for his flight before takeoff." ( He was in Memphis to support 1,300 striking African-American sanitation workers. Dr. King and his friends were getting ready for dinner and were about to depart from the Lorraine Motel, where they were staying at in Memphis,Tennessee, on April 4th, 1968. He walked out onto the balcony and was shot by a sniper's bullet. Within fifteen minutes of the shot, Dr. King was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital. The doctors tried emergency surgery, but the wound was too serious. He was pronounced dead at 7:05 P.M. The person who had killed Martin Luther King Jr. was James Earl Ray, who was apprehended a month later in Heathrow Airport in London. "He confessed to the killing, but retracted his confession after he had been imprisoned."(
Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison to escape the electric chair. He was known to have a great hatred of black people. While serving his sentence in Missouri, Ray refused to move to an open farm prison where conditions were better because he could not live with the black inmates. The reaction to Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination was mainly violent. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was addressing a crowd of 11,000 people at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, at the time of the shooting. He was a candidate for the presidential election that year. As Kennedy prepared for a flight to Indianapolis, he was told that Dr. King had been assassinated. "Kennedy recoiled when he heard the news, as though he had been struck by the bullet that took King's life."( The immediate dilemma was whether to go ahead with the rally that had been arranged for Indianapolis's black ghetto. Kennedy was advised that when those people heard the news,they would riot. Word of King's death had not reached the 2,000 people who had gathered in Indianapolis to hear Robert F. Kennedy speak. Kennedy, wearing his brother's old black overcoat, mounted a flatbed truck, where he ignored the speech he had written for the event. He would find the words he was looking for as he spoke and broke the news to the crowd. "I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight in Memphis,Tennessee." The gathered crowd reacted with horror as Kennedy delivered the dreadful news. "For those of you who are black . . . you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge . . .Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love." ( As a former Attorney General of the United States, Kennedy realized the potential for disaster that evening as the news spread quickly across the States. Violence had erupted across America. A wave of rioting struck 125 cities in 29 states. Forty-six people were killed, 2,600 injured, 21,000 arrested and damage to property estimated at $50 million dollars. In Chicago, Mayor Daley ordered police to "shoot to kill" arsonists; In Washington D.C., bullets and bombs exploded two blocks from the White House and everywhere, the National Guard and the Army were on the streets, as President Johnson dispatched 100,000 federal troops to contain the riots. In the coming months, with the United States consumed with riots, arson, and racial fury, Kennedy alone remained a figure of common hope, becoming "the last white politician who was trusted by black people." ( Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's funeral was an elaborate event. More than 150,000 mourners attended his funeral at his old Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The services were held on April 9th, 1968, at the church and on the campus of Morehouse College, with the President of the United States proclaiming a day of mourning and flags being flown at half-staff. The area where Dr. King is entombed is located on Freedom Plaza and is surrounded by the Freedom Hall complex of the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. The Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site, a 23-acre area was listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 5th, 1977, and was made a National Historic Site on October 10th, 1980 by the United States Department of the Interior.(
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination changed the Civil Rights Movement and history quite a lot. Dr. King is remembered as a representative of achievement and his culture. His major legacy was the pieces of federal legislation passed in 1964 and 1965. King, more than any other leader, had been responsible for both the abstract and the concrete achievements of the Civil Rights Movement. He had dreamed and had acted. ( American minorities enjoyed an initial flurry of political empowerment in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 began to affect local elections. However, after this progress started to slow, and has remained comparatively sluggish. The "white flight" from cities to suburbs has left behind decaying neighborhoods with weak tax bases and "de facto" segregated schools. Celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. often downplay his radical economic vision while highlighting his upbeat liberal rhetoric. The irony of his treatment as a national hero was perhaps most evident in the establishment of the holiday honoring him --- affected as it was by the staunch anti-communist Reagan Administration. The impact of Dr. King's legacy is very much evident in the way it is taught in school.

Bibliography 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

The tragedy of Emmett Till

(Tamara Zajac was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2005-2006 school year.)

Mamie Till (Emmett’s mother) was born in Money, Mississippi, and when she was two years old her family moved to Illinois. After Emmett was born, his father Louis Till was drafted to go fight in the army during World War 2. While there, he was executed from the army for raping two Italian women and murdering one. So Emmett had a hard childhood. He lived with his mother and grew up with segregation, but not much of it in Chicago.
( - Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, Events)

When Emmett was fourteen, his mother sent him to Money, Mississippi for the summer to visit his uncle, Moses Wright, and other relatives. She knew about the segregation in the south and tried to explain it all to Emmett before he left, but he was too excited. Since she was a teacher she told him exactly how to treat white people there and to not get into any trouble. She knew that race was very different in Mississippi than it was in Chicago. Over 500 black people had been killed or lynched in the south since 1882 and Mamie acted scared. There were many murders especially in the Mississippi Delta where Emmett was going. So racism was high. Another reason the racism was high was because of the decision that the U.S. Supreme Court made the year before, 1954, which was to end segregation in schools with the Brown verses Board of Education. Black voters were murdered and many others. It was hard times. ( -Emmett Till’s Death)

While in Money, Emmett and some of his cousins and friends walked into a store and bought some bubblegum for a couple of pennies. Roy Bryant and his wife Carolyn ran the small grocery store called Bryant’s Grocery and Meat Market which Carolyn, a beautiful woman, was working at this day in August, 1955. While paying he whistled at, or somehow flirted with Carolyn Bryant who did not find it very amusing. She decided not to tell her husband about it yet because he and his half brother J.W. Milam were on a trucking route. When they returned, they heard about what Emmett Till did. ( “American Experience”) On August 28th, about 2:30 a.m. the two white men kidnapped Emmett. (Timelife books published 1993 pg 181(different kind of book-different information))

The two men, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, broke into Moses Wright’s house, dragged out Emmett Till, and to keep everyone at the house and not following them, they held guns to the family. They whipped him, forced him to take his clothes off, gouged his eye out, shot him in the head, and then tied his body to a cotton gin with barbed wire around it, and threw him in the Tallahatchie River. On August 31st his body was found, floating on the bank. They murdered him. And all he did was improperly look at a white woman. ( -Emmett Till’s Death)

Even before Emmett’s body was found, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam were arrested for kidnapping. They admitted they took him from his uncle, Moses Wright’s house, but they insisted that they let him go that same night, completely unharmed, which was a lie that everyone would soon find out. When the body was found, law enforcement officials quickly added murder to the charges against Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. Then a week later an all-white jury ordered the two men to stand trial, which was surprising for the southerners. Out of those 500 blacks lynched, very rarely was there any legal action for them. So when an action was taken for Emmett Till the whole world knew about it. His body in the corpse (which his mother insisted to keep open for the world to see) was seen everywhere. There were pictures of it in Jet Magazine and the case drew the attention of the United States. The governor of Mississippi at the time said that this case wasn’t a lynching. There was no racism involved in the crime. It was just a straight-out murder. So the south believed him. They were saying that Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam weren’t charged for any race related crime. The people living in the south didn’t want a bad reputation for being racist so they made up a story and told everyone that there was no racism involved. The trial only lasted one week with an all-white jury. So there was no chance that white men would accuse other white men of killing a black kid. There was no way that would happen. So on September 23rd, the all white jury talked for an hour, then declared Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam innocent. Three months later, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man on a bus. She thought about Emmett Till and what he went through and had to do something to defend him. That led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Martin Luther King to speak up. Emmett Till’s murder led to the civil rights movement.
(Levine, Ellen “Freedom’s Children” published 1993 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons pg 92)

When Emmett’s uncle Moses Wright came to defense, everyone was amazed that a black man stood up in court and pointed his finger to a white man. They said that was the first time it had ever happened. It was a rare and courageous act, they said.
( “The Lynching of Emmett Till” by: Chris Crowe)

“His bloated face was the ugliness of American racism staring us right in the eye.” Said Clenora Hudson-Weems. She was a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, who wrote Emmett Till: Sacrificial Lamb of the Civil Rights Movement. Reading that is how most people heard about Emmett Till’s death, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Alan Steinberg. (Nine Women: Portraits from the American Radical Tradition by: Judith Nies pg 216 Google Book Search)

“Have you ever sent a loved son on vacation and had him returned to you in a pine box, so horribly battered and water-logged that someone needs to tell you this sickening sight is your son -- lynched?” said Mamie Till. "Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, `That's their business, not mine.' Now I know how wrong I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all."
( Cozens “The Murder of Emmet

Link added to Third Quarter Research Project information

Basic information for my eighth grade students to help them with the annual third quarter research project is featured on the newest link on the right hand side of this page.

Mr. Turner's Third Quarter Research Project, a link to a page on my original Room 210 website, features the basic outline of the project, suggested research topics, and the schedule and deadlines.

Vile murder of civil rights workers remembered


(Tiffani Gilbert was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2005-2006 school year.)

Three murders... all performed by the same vile man... Edgar Ray Killen. Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney, were murdered during what most know as the "Freedom Summer" of 1964. Bruised bodies, gunshot wounds covered the three bodies and were found in a rotting heap by a dam. After finding the bodies not a great effort was made to find the murderer. Thanks to pro-civil-rights FBI workers, President Lyndon Johnson and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, searched high and low for the mysterious murder.
(Edgar Ray Killen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (no author);
Movies were made based on this sad tale. The Mississippi Burning for example, based the story upon this manslaughter. Years later, 2005, the murders are being brought up again with court. Killen was arrested for the three murders January 6, but was released on a bond shortly after convicted. April 18 Killen's trial was assigned, but was rescheduled seeing how he broke both his legs chopping wood on his property in Neshoba County. (Wikipedia)
Killen has already faced several trials, (1965, 1967, 2005 [trial dates]) His latest trial began June 13, 2005... Killen was finally convicted on June 23 with 60 years with three counts of manslaughter, 20 years for each count. Killen's lawyer was claiming how just 10 years would be a life sentence for this man, now in his 80's; Judge Gordon stated that, "Each life lost was valuable and strongly asserted, the law made no distinction of age for the crime, and that the maximum sentence should be imposed regardless of Killen's age." (Wikipedia)
Edgar was a former Ku Klux Klan recruiter and preacher. Preacher a man of religion, one who beiebes in honest, pure life, instead of Killen's tainted view on the world around him. Killen was a man who lied and killed without remorse. "Should this have been done 40 years ago? Absolutely. Is there more work to be done? Clearly. But this is one significant step toward redemption for Neshoba County and for the state of Mississippi," Killen said. (Ex-KKK Member Guilty in Killings - Bill Nichols and Jerry Mitchell;
The case on its 41st anniversary.. too long a time for this case to go without justice. Killen, after about a month or so, was freed from an appeal bond. The 80 year-old Killen, is on the loose again, lying his way through judges and the jury. This man shouldn't be back out of prison... the man boasted about killing these three men; three valuable lives, beaten and host down by Killen and his racist friends. Killen never showed any remorse, usually bragging about these killings. (Time Can't Quench Thirst For Justice - USA Today;
Racism has always been a big issue, but white vs. black, is probably the most common racist groups during the Freedom Summer of 1964, and the whole civil rights era in general. The Birmingham Bombing, the murder of Emmett Till, the murder of state NAACP leader Medgar Evers, all took place during this civil rights era something America could and would never forget. Most of these cases though, are being put back up for trial, hopefully catching the murderers of these innocent people. Frank Cherry was convicted in 2002 for the Birmingham Bombing in 1963, hopefully the same will happen to Killen, and we wouldn't have to worry about this man much longer. (Ex-KKK Members -Jerry Mitchell)
During the trial the judge had stated that he wanted Killen locked up. That he didn't want a crazed man walking or wheeling around his society. Edgar Ray (Preacher) Killen, Jerry McGrew Shrpe, Ethel Glen "Hop" Barnett, did not have a definite verdict, but Deputy Sheriff Cecil Ray Price, Jimmy Arledge, Sam Bowers, Wayne Roberts, Jimmy Snowden, Billy Wayne Posey, Horace Doyle Barnette were all guilty in this crime. (The Verdict Memebers of the Jury Newspaper Articles About the Jury - no author;
The latest trial had lasted about ten days, when the verdict was read June 23, 2005, guilty of manslaughter. After 40 days or so, an appeal bond set up by his defense lawyer released Killen. Should Killen have been released? No. Should Killen be in jail for those three men's lives? Of course. Killen shouldn't be allowed to prance about, knowing that he killed those civil rights workers.. Killen should be in jail, paying his 60 years in his rightful place... prison. The law doesn't hold itself responsible for the age of the convicted person, and shouldn't matter. A person should just take the fall and spend their allotted time in prison, not being allowed to get out until the time is fully served. Killen a preacher, didn't serve six months of the charge, but was left off 40 days later after the verdict! Justice isn't being served like it should, justice's thirst won't be filled until this man is back in prison, serving his time for those three men's valuable lives! (Wikipedia)
Edgar Ray (Preacher) KIllen is freed from jail without making a dent in his 60 years that he had to spend in there, knowing that he was freed becuase of some of America's stupidity. Cold hard evidence was brought to the stand, yet America passed it by like just another television sitcom or the CSI or Law and Order. During the Civil Rights era, there was no law... there was no order; here were just people who killed because of color... This is just one of the many cases of the Civil Rights era.

Birmingham Church Bombing: a key event in the civil rights era

(Tim Scroggins was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2006-2007 school year.)

One of the key events in the Civil Rights Movement was the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing in Birmingham Alabama. The reason the church was a key target to the KKK was because it was a key meeting place for the Civil Rights Movers.(Title-About the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing Website-english.uiuciedy/maps/poets/m_r/randall/Birmingham Author-N/A).
The Bombing
It was an early Sunday morning in the town of Birmingham, Alabama at around 10:45. There were four little girls in the basement of the small church who were getting ready for the 11:00 service. They were brushing there hair and discussing there first days back to school. at around 10:25 a dynamite bomb with 19 sticks of dynamite exploded injuring 22 and killing 3 fourteen year olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, the blast also killed 11 year old Denise Mcnair. The bomb also damaged 5 cars in the back, completely annihilated the back wall, and destroyed every stain glass window pains except for one, this one consisted of Christ holding hands with children leading them to the promised land, although the face of Christ was destroyed the rest of it was intact. After tragedy the remains of the church pulled many whites into the civil rights movements. (Title- In the Memory of four little girls Website-useekufindcom/peace/summary.htm Author-N/A)
The Victims
# Born November 17, 1951, Carole Denise McNair was the first child of photo shop owner Chris and schoolteacher Maxine McNair. Her playmates called her Niecie. A pupil at Center Street Elementary School, she had many friends. She held tea parties, was a member of the Brownies, and played baseball. She helped raise money to support muscular dystrophy by creating plays, dance routines, and poetry readings. These events became an annual event. People gathered in the yard to watch the show in Denise’s carport, the main stage. Children donated their pennies, dimes, and nickels. Denise was a schoolmate and friend of Secretary of state Condoeleeza Rice.
# Born April 30, 1949, Cynthia Wesley was the first adopted daughter of Claude and Gertrude Wesley, who were both teachers. Her mother made her clothes because of her petite size. Cynthia went to school at Ullman High School, which no longer exists. She excelled in math, reading, and band. Cynthia held parties in her backyard for all her friends. Upon Cynthia’s death she was so mutilated the only way to identify her was by the ring she wore, which was recognized by her father.
# Carole Robertson was born April 24th, 1949. She was the third child of Alpha and Alvin Robertson. Her sister was Dianne and her brother was Alvin. Her father was a band master at the local elementary school. Her mother was a librarian, avid reader, dancer, and clarinet player. Carole, like her mother, enjoyed reading. She excelled at school and was a straight-A student, a member of Parker High School marching band and science club. She was also a Girl Scout and belonged to Jack and Jill of America. When she was at Wilkerson Elementary School she sang in the choir. Her legacy helped create the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, a social service agency that serves children and their families.
# Addie Mae Collins was born April 18th, 1948, the daughter of Oscar and Alice. Her father was a janitor and her mother a homemaker. She was one of seven children. Addie was the peacemaker between the bunch. She was also an avid softball player. A youth center dedicated to Addie and her ideals was created in Alabama.(Title-victims of the 1963 Chuch Bombing
Although the actual attack was only to instill fear into the African Americans, it only brought rage. By the end of the day fires had broken out and two more African Americans were left dead one by to whites riding a moped and one killed by police for throwing rocks at cars as they passed. To add wood to the flames Birmingham Police Commissioner tried to say that it was the U.S Supreme Courts fault saying "If there's to be bloodshed its on them not us" further enraging the crowd by also saying that the african americans maybe planted the bombs themselves trying to provoke an emotional response adding in "I wouldn't say its over Martin Luther King Jr's crowd." At the end of the day all of the crowds had been subdued and they had no suspects in the bombing.(Title-The bombing Author-16th street Baptist church Bombing)
The Investigation and Convictions .

As the investigation continued many suspects came up and many were not convicted.Robert Chambliss was initially charged with the crime he was never convicted. Years later it was confirmed that the FBI hadnt released evidence that could have been used to convict him, and in 1977 by the order of J. Edgar Hoover Chambliss was prosecuted by Alabama General Attorney and was convicted for the murder of four girls and was sentenced to several terms of life imprisonments, he died in prison in 1985. After the case was reopened several times, the FBI insisted that Bobby Cherry and Thomas Blanton be convicted of the crimes and on May 17, 2000, after 3 hours of deliberations between the jury both of them were convicted of the four murders and were sentenced to life imprisonment. (Title-4 little girls Website- Author-N/A)

Research links added to site

This site is designed to help students in my eighth grade communication arts class at South Middle School with the annual third quarter Civil Rights Research Project. It also is designed to help other middle school, high school, and even college students with research projects concerning the civil rights era.
With that in mind, I have added a collection of research links on the right hand page. Anyone with suggestions for links to add to the page, please contact me at

Friday, January 18, 2008

The media played key role covering civil rights era

(Ken Zhang was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2006-2007 school year.)

Today you watch the news, read the newspapers and magazines, and listen to the radio for news about what’s happening in your world right now. But imagine living in a country full of racism and hearing on the news about African Americans being murdered, arrested, ext. You might be appalled by this, living in a society of equal rights and even some people back them might fell the same, but most people back them would have not cared about African Americans and would look down on them. They separated whites and blacks in schools, public buses, businesses, ext. so eventually people both white and black began to fight back for African Americans to have equal rights in the civil rights movement which started because of the murder of Emmit Till.
Media played a huge part in the civil rights movement. It showed people at home how African Americans were being treated by white people and by the KKK. It‘ written “the civil rights movement played a crucial role in emerging production practices and self understanding of network information workers.” One of the first civil rights event covered by media was the case of the little rock nine because the national guard came in to take them to school as requested by the president at that time ( Torres Sasha; Black, White, and in Color Television and Black Civil Rights; copy right 2003; pg 15, pg 22 ).
The March on Washington was one of the rare civil rights events that effected the people who watched it. The extensive media that covered it were possible because before March, Martin Luther King Jr. had an interview with ABC and during that he argued that the events during the summer and spring the issues will be brought out in the open. Then over five hundred cameramen, technicians, and correspondence from television networks covered the event ( Thomas III, William; Television News Civil Rights struggle: The Views in Virginia and Mississippi; Southern Spaces; ) and so many viewers at home watched and they were affected in some way by it ( March on Washington;
Many journalists and reporters risked their jobs and their lives in order to show the public the truth of the civil rights movement. In this essay I’m going to talk about three: John Chancellor ( NBC ), Dan Rather ( CBS ), and Jerry Mitchell.
John Chancellor of NBC covered the early civil rights movement like the Little Rock nine and the Emmit Till murder which caused the civil rights movement. He even gave up a newspaper career to cover the civil rights.
Another reporter that reported over the civil rights was Dan Rather on CBS. As a reporter of CBS news he was assigned to cover many stories on the events of the civil rights movement. He covered the story of Medgar Evers and his assassination later on. Then he also covered the death of Cheyney, Schwerner, and Goodman in the Mississippi Murders and the march on Selma along with the Memphis garbage workers strike. But his most privileged assignments was on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rather covered Martin Luther King Jr. during the march on Washington and was one of the prestigious few people who met Martin Luther King and listened to his moving “ I have a Dream “ speech. He even said he would like to have been his friend but he was reminded his only purpose is to let the American people see Martin Luther King and his work ( Covering The Civil Rights Movement, CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather Reflects; ).
Last but not least is Jerry Mitchell who is a court reporter of The Clarion-Ledger. Then he went on to investigative reporting on The Clarion-Ledger to find evidence to the unsolved murders of the civil rights movement after he was inspired by the film Mississippi Burning which is about the Mississippi Murders of the three civil rights workers. He brought to justice four members of the Ku Klux Klan three of which were Bryon De La Beckwith, Edgar Ray Killen, and Bobby Frank Cherry. Edgar Ray Killen was guilty of committing the murders in Mississippi of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner in 1964. Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted of the bombing of the Birmingham church killing four little black girls that were in it. Bryon De La Beckwith was convicted for assassinating Medgar Evers. For all he did he received the John Chancellor Award for excellence in journalism ( John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism About the 2005 winner-Jerry Mitchell; ).
That’s pretty much the main aspects of how the media affected the civil rights movement. If it weren’t for the media the public wouldn’t have cared about how harsh the African Americans were being treated. Many civil rights events that were broadcasted on national television like the March in Washington. Many reporters and journalists reported on the civil rights news and tried to inform the public of the ways African Americans were segregated. They showed the public their should be equal rights among all black and white Americans. Reporters like Jerry Mitchell opened the unsolved cases of the civil rights movement and convicted the suspects like the members of the Ku Klux Klan and other people. Cases like the Medgar Evers assassination which reporters like Dan Rather, Jerry Mitchell, and Claude Sitton ( New York Times ) covered. Claude Sitton even wrote three years after Medgar Evers assassination the description of his death: “ the snipers bullet struck him just below the right shoulder blade. The slug crashed through a front window of the home, penetrated an interior wall, ricocheted off a refrigerator and struck a coffee pot. The battered bullet was found beneath a watermelon on a kitchen cabinet. Evers staggered to the doorway, his keys in his hands and collapsed near the steps. His wife, Myrlie and their three children rushed to the door.” ( Talese, Gay; The Kingdom and the Power; copyright 1996; pg 171 ) They brought the message of the civil rights movement to the public helping the movement along until President Kennedy’s civil rights bill gave African Americans equal rights like white Americans in 1994 ending the civil rights movement.

(Photo: Claude Sitton of the New York Times interviews Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

The courage of the Little Rock Nine

(Victoria Smith was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2006-2007 school year.)

A lot of people take simple things for granted. Like getting a drink from the water fountain, or going to the public bathroom, or even going to school. If it wasn’t for events like Plessy vs. Ferguson, Brown vs. Education, and Little Rock Nine, we wouldn’t be able to have an equal education.
Before some of the events happened that I stated above happened everything was suppose to be “equal”, even though the whites had separate bathrooms than the blacks, and different water fountains than the blacks, different waiting rooms, different schools, and different areas of restaurants, mind you all of these things were suppose to be equal but it wasn’t. So here we have Linda Brown, a little black girl from Topeka Kansas, I don’t know what she and her family were complaining about, she only had to walk about a mile to her school, when the white school was only a couple a blocks away. After the Browns and the N.A.A.C.P went to court they passed a law where schools can be segregated, that’s where my topic comes in. (“Crisis in Little Rock Timeline”
Daisy Bates was the president of the Arkansas state conference of the N.A.A.C.P, so she was already trying to integrate the public schools. So after the Brown vs. Board of Education banned school segregation she gathered nine African American students to enroll in the previously all white, Little Rock central High school for the 1957-1958 school year,
And this, my friends, is where the journey begins. (“Daisy Bates “
The nine African American students that Daisy Bates picked were: Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls Lanier, Minnijean Brown-Trickey. Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed- Wair, and Melba Pattillo Beals. The nine students arrive, to enroll at CHS (central high school) on the second day of school, around September 5th, but they were turned away by the National Guardsmen at the instruction of governor Faubus. That afternoon Federal Judge Davis ordered an investigation by all offices of the Department of Justice to determine who was behind the interference of enrollment. The court ordered the National Guard to keep going with the integration. (
A third attempt was made, the nine students had tried to attend classes at CHS. For three weeks, the National Guard had kept the students from entering the school, at the orders of Governor Faubus. Then on September 20, the troops were withdrawn by the courts. All was quiet over the weekends at CHS but on Monday September 23, once the nine students stepped on the campus, an uncontrollable violent mob grew very fast in the area around the entrance of the school.
It was so much that the police decided that it would be best that they took out the nine students by 12:00 noon, that same day. The next day President Eisenhower, called the Arkansas National Guard, into active military service to deal with the Little Rock school integration crisis. President Eisenhower also gave the secretary of defense the power to use regular Army troops in addition to the National Guard.
(“Determining the facts”
By the end of September 1957, the nine were admitted to Little Rock Central High under the protection of the U.S. Army, but they were still subjected to a year of physical and verbal abuse by many of the white students.
One of the nine, Minnijean Brown seemed to be particularly picked on. In December of 1957, she was verbally confronted by a group of white boys during lunch, they wouldn’t leave her alone, and so in return she dumped a bowl of chili on the ring leader’s head, and was suspended for 6 days. A couple of weeks later, a white girl confronted her and Minnijean couldn’t take it anymore, and she called the white girl white trash. And she was suspended for two more days.
After that last event she was suspended from the whole school and was transferred to New Lincoln High School in New York. None of the white kids got in trouble.
Meanwhile ,some of the other nine weren’t having as many difficulties as Minnijean, like Ernest Green, he was the first African American student to graduate from Little Rock Central High School, paving the way for other black students in the years to come.
(“Little Rock Nine”
Even though the nine went through an affal lot, like being spat on, verbally abused, being called the infamous “N” word, hearing people yell threats at you like “I gonna hang you, and get all you “Ns” out of my school” and other different violent things, physically abused, and just the fact of knowing that almost everyone at the school HATES your guts.
I imagine that, this would be real hard but they dealt with it and, and continued on.
You, know if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be going to South Middle School, and I probably wouldn’t have the friends that I have, and I pretty sure that I wouldn’t be trying to hurry up and type this paper trying to get it in before midnight so I can get the extra credit, ANYWAYS, what I am trying to say is that I am really grateful for everything that happened in the civil rights era., because even though the people who stood up for their rights had bad things happen to them, they’ve paved the way for other young black people, like myself, to have a better life, and to have more and better opportunities, and to have a successful life.

The death of four little girls

(Alicia Shofner was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2006-2007 school year.)

The Birmingham Church Bombing was an event that no one will ever forget. Lives were taken from four innocent girls when some members of the KKK put a box of dynamite under the stairs of The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday September 15th, 1963, the man had been seen getting out of a white and turquoise Chevrolet car that morning. Around 10:22 am the bomb went off. The four girls that had got killed had been attending Sunday school that morning when the bomb had gone off.
The four African American girls that were killed in the bombing were Addie Mae Collins age 14, Carole Robertson age 14, Cynthia Wesley age 14 and Denise McNair age 11. Along with the four girls that died there were 23 other people that were also hurt when the dynamite when off.
After the bomb had went off there were out breaks of shooting that left at least two people dead in the streets. People would smash in the windows of people who had white skin that were driving by, there was also fires started but they were put out before anyone got hurt. City police shot a 16-year-old Negro to death when he refused to heed their commands to halt after they caught him stoning cars. A 13-year-old Negro boy was shot and killed as he rode his bicycle in a suburban area north of the city. The police didn’t want anyone out on the streets after dark so everyone was instructed to keep there children in the house. When the crowd broke up, scattered shootings and stoning erupted through the city during the afternoon and tonight. It was a mad house after the bombing had happened. It was the fourth bombing in four weeks in Birmingham, and the third since the current school desegregation crisis came to a boil Sept. 4. The fact that this happened in Birmingham was not as surprising as you would have thought because Birmingham was a stronghold of the KKK. Segregation was the norm in the city. A lot of people we separated because of there color or the heritage. (Birmingham, Alabama, and the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, About the 1963 Birmingham Bombing,
When the bomb exploded the image of Jesus was knocked cleanly out of the only window that was not totally distorted and the church clock stopped at exactly 10:22am. How weird is that? That the clock would stop as soon as the bomb went off and that the only window that wasn’t shattered had the face of Jesus. It was a miracle. (Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, We shall over come,
At three of the girl’s funerals (the other girl’s family wanted to have a separate funeral.) Martin Luther King Jr. spoke. He talked about how life being "as hard as crucible steel." For black and African American kids it was really hard to live there lives because of all the racial things that were going on in the world. More thank 8,000 people showed up at the service, City officials didn’t go to the funeral because the crowds were so big and there were so many people already going. Some white people that the families didn’t know showed up to show there sorrow for the family that had lost the girls. (Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, We shall over come,

The blame for the death of the four girls was put on George Wallace, the Governor of because early that week he had told the New York Times that to stop the integration Alabama needed a “few first-class funerals.” (Birmingham, Alabama, and the Civil Rights Movement in 1963)

It wasn’t until witness identified Robert Chambliss as the man who had placed the bomb under the steps he was charged with murder and possessing a box of 122 sticks of dynamite without having the permit to have the dynamite. On October 8th, 1963, he was found not guilty and just received a $100 fine and had to serve six months in jail for not having a permit for the dynamite. But in November 1977 the case was tried once again, he was found guilty and had to serve life imprison. Robert dies in Alabama prison on October 29th, 1985. He never admitted that he had anything to do with the bombing even before he died. On May 17th, 2000 the FBI had found out that the Bombing at Sixteen Street Baptist Church, had been carried out by the Ku Klux Klan splinter group, the called themselves the Cahaba Boys. Four men from the group Robert Chambliss, Herman Cash, Thomas Blanton, and Bobby Cherry had been responsible for the bombing. Herman Cash had already died so he was never given a punishment for what he did. During Cherry’s trail some of him family had came forward and testify against him and said Cherry “has worn this crime like a badge of honor.” Cherry had said

"This whole bunch lied all the way through this thing," he said when Circuit Judge James Garrett asked him whether he had anything to say. "Now, I don't know why I'm going to jail for nothing. I didn't do anything." He was convinced of four counts of murder and was serving life imprison. When Thomas Blanton had his trail he was also found guilty When they found so called Kitchen tapes of him telling his wife about the plan to make the bomb and use it, and has to serve life imprison too. They both died when they were in prison. Cherry died November 2004 of cancer when he was in jail. Thomas also died in prison. "I'll sleep well tonight, better than I've slept in many years," said the Rev. Abraham Lincoln Woods, a leader of Birmingham's black community who pushed authorities to reopen the case. (Birmingham, Alabama, and the Civil Rights Movement in 1963) and (Birmingham Church Bombing, Black History Month,


The murder of Emmett Till

(Dusty Hill was an eighth grader at South Middle School during the 2006-2007 school year.)
About one year after the Brown vs. Board of Education trial that ended segregation, a boy named Emmett Till decided to visit his relatives in Money, Mississippi. While you might be wondering what this has to do with a 14-year-old boy from Chicago, the following information will explain. (Sirimalo, Elizabeth, Voices from-the Civil Rights Movement. 2005 pg. 51)
Emmett Till was an African American boy around the age of 14. I say “was” because of what happened to him prevents him from being alive today. Till was bold and very intelligent. He wanted to visit his relatives in Money, Mississippi but his mother Mamie Till begged her son not to go. She knew of the prejudice in the South, while Emmett was unaccustomed to it. He had experienced prejudice in his hometown of Chicago but was not knowing of what was in store for him in the south. Finally Mamie gave in to her son but warned him, “Be careful. If you have to get down on your knees and bow when a white person goes past, do it willingly.” Unfortunately, Till did not think this would be necessary. Unfortunately it was. ( The Lynching of Emmett Till)
Emmett left for Mississippi on August 20, 1955, with his cousin Curtis Jones. Since 1882 over 500 African Americans had been lynched and racist murders were sadly common especially where Emmett was visiting. A murder recent to the time involved the hate of two black registered voters. Hate groups like the KKK wanted to keep life as they saw fit. (McElrath Jessica, The Murder of Emmett Till)
Emmett arrived with his cousin on August 21, at his great uncle’s house. Emmett’s great uncle’s name was Moses Wright. On August 24, Till and his cousin stopped at Bryant’s grocery store to buy some candy. Before entering the store, Emmett showed some pictures of a white girl to some local boys outside the store. He bragged that this girl was his girlfriend. The kids dared Emmett to go inside the store and then talk to Carolyn Bryant, the store clerk. There are a few stories of what Emmett did inside the store, but he either whistled at her or said “bye baby” as he left the store. ( The Murder of Emmett Till)
Not knowing of the severity of his actions he simply continued on with life for three days. Although after the incident, four days later, early in the morning the husband of the wife of the store clerk paid a visit to Emmett. The man’s name was Roy Bryant. He was accompanied by his half brother J.W. Milam. The two appeared at the door of Mose’s house with a pistol and flashlight in hand. Obviously threatened by the gun Mose led the men to Emmett’s room. The two told Till to hurry up and get dressed. They evened threatened to kill Moses. If he told anyone about this, they would murder him. (McElrath, Jessica)
Hours later, Mamie was notified of her son’s kidnapping. She notified the Chicago newspapers of what had happened to her son. Wright informed the sheriff who later arrested Bryant and Milam for kidnapping.(McElrath, Jessica)
Later on that week, Emmett’s body was discovered in the Tallahatchie River. His face was so distorted he was beyond recognition. The only way he was recognized was that he was wearing his father’s ring. During Emmett’s funeral, his mother wanted an open casket funeral. This was to show the world what had been done to her son. It didn’t only have that affect. Yes people were astonished both whites and blacks. It also made many people come to a harsh realization about the South. It helped the Civil Rights movement incredibly. Many African American preachers were preaching about Till’s case. Almost the whole nation demanded something be done about the prejudice and violence in Mississippi.(The Lynching of Emmett Till)
People of Mississippi were not taken to others’ views about them. Many locals sadly supported the murderers. Five renowned lawyers chose to help the men. The trial of the men occurred in Sumner, Mississippi, on September 19, 1955. This also occurred in front of an all white jury in a segregated court house. One of the hardest jobs of the persecution was to find people to testify against the white men. This is because back then it was unknown of a black person to accuse a white person of committing a crime. (The Murder of Emmett Till)
The first to step forward was Emmett’s uncle, Mose Wright. He was asked if he could notify if the men who killed his nephew were in the room. Mose then pointed to Milam and Bryant proclaiming they had been the two who brutally murdered his nephew. Of course he did not say it in those exact words but he did recognize them as the two who had kidnapped Till and then murdered him. Mose then convinced other African Americans to testify against the two. Although for their protection all who testified against them had to evacuate the state.(The Murder of Emmett Till)
The strange thing was that the main strategy of the defense that the body was not indeed Till’s. Bryant and Milam stated later they let Till go and believe he was hiding out in Chicago. Till’s mother was positive the body was her son’s. Sadly the jury found The white men guilty by the fact that they did not have enough evidence that the body was Till’s.(McElrath, Jessica)
The verdict hit hard on Americans. This was especially hard for Emmett’s mother. She later stated "Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, `That's their business, not mine.' Now I know how wrong. I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all."(The Murder of Emmett Till)

The Freedom Riders: an extraordinary group

(Blanca Castaneda was an eighth grader during the 2006-2007 school year.)
In the times of the Civil Rights movement many did extraordinary things for the cause,but there were those who stood out above all others. An example of these people would be the ones who began the Freedom Riders.
It all began when Tom Gaither, a field secretary of C.O.R.E.,also known as the Congress of Racial Equality, proposed the freedom rides.The idea of the freedom rides was a non-violent protest. Not only african american (or colored) people participated white people also helped out.This protest would lead through many of the southern states,including Rock Hill in which the Jail-No-Bail sit-ins took place.(
The jail-no-bail sit-ins were like the freedom rides, a non-violent protest that caused african-american to be arrested for participating in sit-ins at segregated diners. The protesters would then serve their time in jail other than paying the bail money that they certainly lacked. The bail money also provided police officers with more financial resources that they would later use to put the civil rights activist with a disadvantage caused by the wealth of the police officers and the poverty of the activists.(
The jail-no-bail protests ended a failure because people had to keep their jobs and support their families,but there were no way to do that sitting in jail cells.Although these sit-ins were a failure, they helped by giving the idea of the KKK, also known as the Ku Klux Klan disapproved of the Freedom Riders or anybody who was african american, or pro any african americans.The Freedom Riders never gave up and stuck trough with the rides although there were many people who were extremely racist surrounding them.(www.biology.clc)
Many people are never forgotten even long after they are gone. Many people do outstanding things that cause them to be remembered such as invent the television, or find the cure for an illness, but even though the riders didn't do either of these things they were a great accomplishment. They helped the world become atleast a little more aware of what they were fighting for. The Freedom Fiders were and showed much bravery for standing up for what they believed in, though many were against them.Though many people do not know about the freedom riders,they should be alert that they were great and brave people.
The thirteen original Freedom Fiders planned to ride through the following states,Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. There were seven african-american, and six white riders,they ranged from the age of forty to fifty. As this protest was spread and people began to hear of it more people joined and more younger people joined. .(
The riders arrived to Anniston, Alabama on Mother's Day of the year 1961.On this day, the Ku Klux Klan set the greyhound bus the riders were traveling in on fire.They held the door closed so the riders wouldn't be able to escape, and be burnt to ashes.After too much time an undercover police officer finally pulled out a gun on the klan, and saved the lives of thirteen innocent people. Maybe you could call it luck, but their luck quickly ended as they arrived to Birmingham, Alabama. A KKK mob awaited them, the crowd was being encouraged by Bull Conner. This sick man was the chief of the police in the city of Birmingham.The KKK hit the riders roughly with clubs, and fists. Although the FBI was aware of this horrendous attack in advance they did nothing to protect these people, and they certainly did nothing to enforce the law. This isn't the end of the rider's problems. The public bus drivers now are refusing to transport the riders anywhere. This lack of ignorance coming from the bus drivers caused the freedom riders to have to fly to New Orleans,Florida other than drive, or ride. Problems just seem to continue for these brave and Innocent people. There are threats of a bomb on the plane which causes an even bigger delay in the flight of the riders.This whole issue continues throughout the whole night. .( )
So many problems continue that the riders are considering the thought of just giving up and calling it a lost cause.Thankfully, the N.S.M. also known as the Nashville Student Movement stepped in and didn't let this protest fail, knowing the possible consequences of their actions,at this moment there are nine-teen freedom riders, six-teen of them are african-american and three of them are white. ( )
As things are looking up, they go right back down, because trouble awaits when the governor of Alabama promises Kennedy that he will insure the safety of the riders from Birmingham,Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama. Governor Patterson (the governor of Alabama) was a semi-decent man and kept his promise, but as soon as they arrived to the Montgomery city limits the highway patrol abandoned the freedom riders.At their arrival to the terminal hundreds of klansmen beat the riders with baseball bats, broken bottles,and lead pipes.If it wasn't for the Alabama public safety director Floyd Mann, John Lewis, Jim Zwerg, and William Barbee would have been murderd, and killers would nobody other than the KKK. From his hospital bed William Barbee said "As soon as we've recovered from this, we'll start again." Zwerg said "We are prepared to die. (www.biology.clc)
To honor the freedom riders one thousand two hundred people packed in aReverand Abernathy's first baptist church, on May twenty-first, but they were outnumbered by one thousand eight hundred people. There were three thousand white people outside the church harassing them. As the crowd gets wilder Governor Patterson sends the Alabama National Guard, and the police to calm them down. The National Guard aren't as good as they seem,as people try to exit the church peacefully the National Guard forces them to stay by threatening them with weapons, the riders and their supporters are forced into a church filled with tear gas the whole night. (Wright,Susan;the civil rights act of 1964)
As more riders arrived in Montgomery, Kennedy and the Alabama and Mississippi make a deal. The deal is the National Guard will protect the Freedom Riders and in return the Federal government will allow the states arrest the riders and in return Federal government will allow the states to arrest the riders, this way the bad media will end.(www.biology.clc)
When arriving at Jackson, the riders are arrested for using the "white only" bathrooms and lunch counters. While in jail the riders announced "Jail-no-bails", and stay in jail thirty-nine days. Another group of riders are arrested for sitting at white only lunch counters.( www.biology.clc)
During the months of June, July, and August, 300 activists were jailed in Jackson. Most Freedom Riders were put in Parchman Penitentiary, which is a prison farm and was described as "worse than slavery." Mississippi would not rest until breaking the riders spirit. The Freedom Riders wouldn't break. Then the riders began singing and wouldn't stop because their mattresses would be removed, making them sleep on concrete steel. Through the summer the riders were put through misery but still they would not break, so Mississippi released them. They were stronger than ever. The ICC also known as Interstate Commerce Commission issued a desegregation order, in which you could sit on the bus anywhere you wanted, there were no more separate drinking fountains, toilets or lunch counters, and the signs at the terminals would be removed.( )
Many wonder how Freedom Riders put up with such violence and hate, but I know for a fact that if you believe hard enough in something and with a little effort, you can change things that seem impossible, no matter what your physical appearance. are.( )

The story of Emmett Till


(Alexis Hawk was in Mr. Turner's Communication Arts class during the 2006-2007 school year.)
On August 27, 1955, in Money,Mississippi Emmett Till,a fourteen-year-old black male, was beaten, had his eye cut out, and then was shot to death by two white older men named Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. (The Murder of Emmett Till,
Two days earlier Emmett had come from Chicago,Illinois, to Money, Mississippi with his cousin, Curtis Jones, to visit his uncle, Mose Wright. He was hanging out with some other kids from around town out side of a store and pulled out a picture of a white girl that he was friends with from Chicago and started bragging that is was his girlfriend. One of the boys pointed out that there was a white girl in the store running the cash reg ester and that he bet Emmett wouldn't go in there and talk to her. Emmett took the boys' bet and went into the store to buy some candy on his way out he whistled and/or said "bye baby" to the girl running the cash reg ester, her name was Carolyn Bryant and she was the wife of the store owner Roy Bryant. (The Lynching of Emmett Till,
Emmett being from the south was unaware of the Jim Crow Laws which applied in the north. Some of the Jim Crow Laws are, A Black male could not offer his hand to shake hands with a white male because it implied being socially equal, A Black man could not offer his hand or any other body part to a white woman because he risked being accused of rape., Black and whites were not supposed to eat together. If they did eat together, whites were to be served first, and some sort of partition was to be placed between them., If a black person ride in a car driven by a white person the black person sat in the back seat or the back of a trunk, Never assert or intimate that a white person is lying.Never impute dishonorable intentions to a white person. Never suggest that a white person is from an inferior class., Never curse a white person., Never laugh derisively at a white person, Never comment upon the appearance of a white female. So according to the Jim Crow Laws, what Emmet did to Carolyn Bryant was completely unacceptable.
(The Jim Crow Laws,
Two days after Emmett Till when into that store and talk/whistled at Carolyn Bryant. He was taken from his uncle Mose's house in the middle of the night and shot and beaten to death by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. He was found 3 days later in the Tallahatchie River by the law enforcement of Mississippi, One of hes eyes had been cut out and he had a bullet hole in his head. They were able to figure out that it was Emmett because he was wearing a ring with his inital on it, that Mose Wright saw and he was the one who identified him. But because it was so hard to recognize the corpse his mother Mamie Bradley wanted to inspect it to confirm it was really Emmett. (the Murder of Emmett Till)
Mamie Emmett's mother had Emmett's body shipped back to Chicago. When they had the funeral Mamie made sure that it was open-casket She wanted to let everyone see what Roy and J.W. did to her son.(The Murder of Emmett Till)
On September 19, 1955 in Summer,Mississippi the trail for Emmett Till's murder was held. The jury was all white men. Roy and J.W. said that the body found in the Tallahatchie river was not Emmett Till and that and that Mamie had dug up a body an just said it was Emmett till's. Roy and J.W. did admit to take Emmett from his uncles house but said they had let him go. Roy Bryant and J.W. milam's attorney told the jury that their Fathers would turn around in their graves if they were to hear that white men were accused of killing a black man. This trial lasted five days and with in thougths five days the jury found Roy and J.W. not guilty because they didn't have enough prove that the body found in the lake was Emmett. The case has been reopened a couple of years ago and is now being investigated even though J.W. and Roy are both dead. The reason it has been reopened is because the government thinks that their was more then just two people there that night when Emmett Till was killed. the FBI dug up Emmett Tills body and put it through an autopsy. they are trying to see if there is anything else that can be done about the murder of Emmett Till. (
The Murder of Emmett Till is just an example of the many injustices that happen during the time of the Civil Rights Movement and how unfair things were for the black people back then just because of the color of their skin.

Welcome to Room 210 Civil Rights blog

Welcome to Room 210 Civil Rights Blog.

This blog is designed to help students in Mr. Randy Turner's eighth grade communication arts class at South Middle School in Joplin, Missouri. It should also serve as an aid to any student researching the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, or as a resource for anyone who is interested in this critical era in United States history.

The blog will feature links to numerous civil rights and historical sites, as well as research papers done by some of the students in Mr. Turner's class.